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‘Bilal’ brings epic Muslim hero to Western audiences

Computer-animated film aims to become a breakout hit

By Drew Farmer –

Bilal: A New Breed of Hero is a computer-animated film that takes a traditional Muslim religious story to the silver screen. Written by Ayman Jamal, Bilal is the story of one boy’s desire to become a great warrior, only to be abducted and thrust in a new world. Bilal is able to persevere and overcome his abductors in this film inspired by true events. It is a classic tale told through cutting-edge animation that has received praise from all corners of the film industry.

Jamal had help from Hollywood veterans Alex Kronemer and Michael Wolfe in the development of the screenplay. The duo helped the film’s story become accessible by a global audience. It is believed Bilal: A New Breed of Hero can be a breakout hit like many of the Hollywood animated films based on religious stories.

Since its completion, the film has received critical acclaim. Bilal: A New Breed of Hero was named Best Inspiring Movie on Animation Day at the Cannes Film Festival. It has also been nominated for Best Animated Feature Film in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Despite being completed in 2015 and praised around the world, it is only now that the film is being released in the United States. February 2 was the official U.S. release date and it will also see a release in several other countries around the globe. Eight movie theaters across Phoenix will show the film with multiple daily showings.

Although the film has religious tones, it is far from being a completely pious film. Bilal: A New Breed of Hero is for all audiences regardless of faith despite being based on one of Muhammad’s earliest loyal companions. Film critics have called the movie fun and entertaining as it focuses more on Bilal’s struggles to overcome the new world he lives in, rather than on his role as one of Muhammad’s prophets.

Jacob Latimore (One Tree Hill, The Maze Runner) voices the young Bilal, while Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (The Bourne Identity, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra) plays him as an adult. Ian McShane (Shrek the Third, Kung Fu Panda) handles the voice of Bilal’s tormentor Umayya.

Bilal: A New Breed of Hero will be showing at the following theaters in the Phoenix area: AMC Classic Arizona Center 24, Harkins Christown 14, Harkins Arizona Mills Luxury 25 with IMAX, AMC Ahwatukee 24, Harkins Gateway Pavilions 18, AMC Westgate 20, Harkins North Valley 16 and Harkins Superstition Springs Luxury 25.

Each cinema is showing the film at multiple times throughout the day. http://www.bilalmovie.com/showtimes/

 

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